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Learning English - Words in the News
11 November, 2005 - Published 10:25 GMT
Webmaster faces legal action
Angkor, Cambodia

A man who advertised Kampot in Cambodia as an ideal place to die is now facing legal action. The authorities have accused Roger Graham of distributing false information and ruining the reputation of the province through his websites. This report from Guy De Launey:

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The Blue Mountain Internet Cafe is in a compact shop house on Kampot's sleepy river front. It has an excellent view of the nearby hills and offers American cooking, quality coffee and several elderly computers for surfing the web. But Roger Graham's sideline has upset Cambodians and local expatriates alike.

He was the webmaster of euthanasia-in-cambodia-dot-com -- a site which asks the rhetorical question: "You're going to die anyway, so why not in Cambodia?" Another of Mr Graham's websites told readers that euthanasia was not illegal in Cambodia. It encouraged people who wanted to kill themselves to come to Kampot where they could find assistance to commit suicide. But the death of a British visitor to the town in September appears to have turned local opinion against Mr Graham.

A number of expatriate residents signed a petition asking the authorities to take action. They expressed concern that the websites would damage the town's tourist potential, just when the local scenery and French colonial architecture have started to attract overseas visitors. Mr Graham says he didn't help the British visitor to commit suicide, but he believes that promoting euthansia in Kampot could boost the economy. Both his websites are currently off-line.

Listen to the words

small, using very little space

an extra way to earn money

people from other countries who are now living in Cambodia

the act of helping people who are very sick or old to die to stop them from suffering any further

rhetorical question
a question that makes a statement, encourages thought but doesn't necessarily need an answer

to commit suicide
to end your own life deliberately

a petition
a written request for action from the authorities which has been signed by many people

the town's tourist potential
the number of tourists who might visit the town in the future

French colonial architecture
buildings that were erected during the time when the French owned Cambodia

suddenly improve

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